SDGOP Proposed Resolution on Nonpartisan Elections

election_smI just testified at the South Dakota GOP Convention Resolutions  Committee a few minutes ago in support of my proposed resolution against the South Dakota Nonpartisan Elections Constitutional Amendment  V which will be on the ballot in the general election in November.

The text of my proposed resolution as submitted to the committee is below. Former South Dakota Senator Tim Rave, who was on the committee, had also proposed a resolution dealing with Constitutional Amendment  T regarding redistricting, and in adopting my resolution against the nonpartisan elections measure, the committee decided to merge some of  the key language of that resolution with mine.  I was in agreement that the two fit well together, as was the entire committee.

I do not  have the final language adopted  by the committee,  but when I discussed this with Rave in sidebar, he indicated two key paragraphs from his proposal would be added to the overall resolution.

The combined resolution will be going to  the floor of the convention to be voted on tomorrow.

The nonpartisan election measure would be very detrimental to the self-determination of the South Dakota GOP as a private organization, and I believe it is important that the South Dakota GOP make a  strong statement about it to its membership so that everyone knows what is at stake. It seems the Resolutions Committee agrees.

WHEREAS political parties are private organizations formed under principles of freedom of association among individuals to accomplish a shared political goal;

Woodrow Wilcox


WHEREAS political parties are not an official part, arm, department or agency of any level of government, and as such are not subject to the same legal requirements for accessibility;

WHEREAS the membership of private groups in America have always enjoyed the liberty to choose for themselves their leaders and representatives;

WHEREAS the proposed Constitutional Amendment V ballot measure would require that all primaries, with the exception of United States President and Vice President, be nonpartisan;

WHEREAS the nonpartisan requirements of Constitutional Amendment V declares that in the primary, candidates are not identified by party affiliation and that all qualified voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote for any candidate of their choice;

WHEREAS this means that those who are not members of the Republican Party, including Democrats and Left-leaning independents, would be allowed to help choose the Republican nominees in all races except the United States President and Vice President;

WHEREAS Constitutional Amendment V would therefore interfere with the right of private, non-governmental groups to choose their own representatives and nominees;

WHEREAS it is fundamentally unfair to force an organization to allow those who are opposed to its goals to have a voice in choosing that organization’s leaders and representatives;

WHEREAS Constitutional Amendment V also declares that candidates would not be identified by party affiliation on the general election ballot as well;

WHEREAS Constitutional Amendment V would make it more difficult for the public to easily recognize the general political and philosophical affiliation of the candidates in the general election;

WHEREAS the requirements of Constitutional Amendment V threaten not only the liberty and integrity of the Republican Party but that of every organized political party;

BE IT RESOLVED that the South Dakota Republican Party strongly opposes Constitutional Amendment V and urges voters to reject the measure on the 2016 ballot.



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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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